1. Tim Lincecum- The Franchise, the Freak, the Freaky Franchise, Big Time Timmy-Jim, whatever the name as Tim goes the Giants go. Maybe the biggest part of the Giants championship run was Lincecum getting red hot in September and his ace performance against the Braves in his first playoff start. In a down year he lead the NL in strikeouts, won 16 and had a 3.43 era, in other words should be in the running for his third Cy Young this season.
Has a low 90's fastball with good movement, good biting slider, a hammer curve, but what really makes him unfair is the circle change that makes batters look completely foolish. Even with his high strikeout rates Lincecum is able to pitch deep into games as long as he gets into a groove early. Perhaps the only way to beat him, ironically, is to work the count and hope he gets wild.
2. Matt Cain- Cain has never had to be the ace of a staff as in his short career as hes been behind Jason Schmidt and Tim Lincecum but that doesnt mean he couldn't head a staff. Cain pitched the best baseball of his life when he didnt give up an earned run in the postseason, if he could get any run support he'd be mentioned amongst the league's elite.
Cain boast a 92-94 MPH sinking fastball, an decent assortment of off speed pitches that are lead by a good curve and above average change but he's by no means lights out without his bulldog mentality. Cain doesnt get himself into trouble on the mound, isn't afraid attacks the zone with his fastball, is the best workhorse on the staff, and after his dominance in the playoffs could challenge to be the ace.
3. Jonathan Sanchez- After years of trade rumors Sanchez finally cemented his rotation spot with a great stretch run that helped push the Giants into the postseason. Sanchez lead the NL in allowing the least amont of hits per 9 innings, which would have been more impressive had he not also lead the NL in walks.
On the Giants impressive staff its possible that Sanchez has the best stuff featuring a mid 90’s fastball with wicked movement, an a almost unhittable hard slider and a hard breaking splitter. However Sanchez gets frustrated easy and will just try to pound fastballs down the middle or tries to get to fine which leads to bouts of wildness, when this happens Sanchez gives up the long ball and melts down quickly.
4. Madison Bumgarner- Bumgarner was only 20 years old last year when the season started and pitched so poorly in spring training that he was beaten out by Todd Wellemeyer for the final rotation spot. Well that didn’t last long and in Game 4 of the World Series, Madison had grown into a man, throwing eight shutout innings in Texas. Bumgarner’s continued development into a star could be the key if the Giants want to repeat as World Champs. No pressure there on MadBum.
Bumgarner is a tall lefty (6-5) and as such he possess a biting curveball but what puts him in a different category is a low 90’s fastball, that falls away from lefties and jams right handed batters. There is some concern about his falling strikeout rates but he more than makes up with it by keeping the ball on the ground and showing above average control on all his pitches.
5. Barry Zito- Zito has been a bust as a Giant, no argument about it. However he has won 11, 10, 10, & 9 with ERA's of 4.53, 5.15, 4.03, & 4.15. Perhaps Zito will be even more motivated after being left off the postseason roster and can be very good again, but all the Giants can count on is 10+ wins and an ERA around 4 from their fifth starter and with the rest of their rotation that's passable.
Zito continues to work in the top half of the zone with his fastball to set up his still impressive curveball. It’s a strategy that served him very well in Oakland when he could hit 90 but now that he lives at 84 hitters can pound the heater or just wait him out and draw the walk when he starts to lose his control with his breaking pitches. The positive is he’s a smart pitcher who takes the ball every fifth day and can have flashes of his old dominance.